Newly-appointed Test captain of the Pakistan cricket team, Babar Azam has revealed that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has given him assurance that he will lead the team in the future as well, irrespective of the outcome of the New Zealand series.
Lat week Azam was announced as the Test captain of the team replacing Azhar Ali. Azhar has captained Pakistan in 9 Test matches- winning 2 against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and losing 4 versus New Zealand, Australia, and England.
Babar was already the limited-overs skipper since last year when he replaced Sarfaraz Ahmed after Pakistan’s exit from the league stage in the World Cup. His first assignment as an all-format leader would be to take on New Zealand.
Pakistan will tour to New Zealand for 3 T20Is starting 27th November followed by a 2-match Test series. Later in the year, the men in green will travel to England before hosting the same team for a 2 T20Is ahead of the T20 World Cup in India.
I have been given complete confidence from management: Babar Azam
Before travelling to New Zealand, Babar Azam talked about his new role as a skipper. He feels that he has learned a lot from leading the side in limited-overs cricket and from former captains- Sarfaraz Ahmed and Azhar Ali. Babar is ready to take the added responsibility while batting.
The 26-year-old said that the PCB had given him confidence and freedom as a captain. He revealed that the board and the management have him in their long-term plans and won’t be removed as a captain no matter what is the result of the New Zealand series.
Babar Azam was quoted by India Today saying, “I have learned a lot through white-ball cricket and players such as Sarfaraz Ahmed and Azhar Ali. The team relies on me and I try to take responsibility when our side is batting. The real joy of cricket is playing under pressure. I enjoy playing cricket. I am not threatened that I will be removed if we lose against New Zealand. I have been given complete confidence from management and a free hand in decision-making.”
The right-hander has had a phenomenal past couple of years in Test cricket. Babar averaged 68 last year and 68 in 2020. The Lahore-born batsman also averages over 50 in both ODIs and T20Is.
Babar believes the team has taken a lot of confidence from their recent victory over Zimbabwe at home and they are hopeful of performing well against the Kiwis. He acknowledges the pressure which comes with the captaincy and is ready to take on the challenges.
“We are continuously playing cricket. We have gained a lot of confidence from our victories and that is why we are hopeful for a good showing against New Zealand. You are always under pressure in international cricket. When I was announced as the white-ball captain, there was pressure. Challenges come your way and you accept them,” Babar Azam added.